Howlin' Pelle Almqvist is not lacking for ego. His repeated calls for applause and adoration would quickly wear thin if the band he fronts didn't actually deliver the goods. But the Hives were non-stop juggernaut of garage rock at the Riviera on Friday night, sometimes soul-inflected, but always smoking. Almqvist and guitarist Nicholaus Arson were the flashy showman, but the whole band was supremely tight. And at least Almqvist invocations for devotion were delivered with a wink, most obviously when informing the audience that they were the best crowd they have ever played to.
As for openers the Donnas, I wasn't that crazy about Van Halen 25 years
ago, so an all-female, less debauched version holds little appeal today.